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2017 MLB MVP Candidates

Rookie sensation Aaron Judge could be the first rookie to win MVP since Ichiro Suzuki.

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Rookie sensation Aaron Judge could be the first rookie to win MVP since Ichiro Suzuki.

By Aaron Hook and Michael Lehman

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As the MLB Postseason rolls on to the Championship Series, the time for award races has dawned upon us. Each year, several awards are given out, including the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in each league. For both the American League (AL) and National League (NL) there are three highlighted candidates that have been widely considered frontrunners for the award. Let’s break them down.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

There are three players in the American League who have had terrific seasons and been huge parts of their team’s success. They are Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros, Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians, and Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees.

Jose Altuve had a phenomenal season, leading baseball with a .346 batting average and a NL leading 204 hits.  He also slugged 24 home runs, which is tied for the most in a single season of his career. He drove in 81 runs, scored 112 runs, had a .547 SLG (Slugging Percentage), a .410 OBP (On-base Percentage), totaling a .957 OPS (On-Base Percentage + Slugging Percentage). Altuve is an amazing defender at second base, making difficult plays look routine. Altuve also had a 7.9 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), which means he contributed seven, almost eight more wins to his team than a replacement player would. He has definitely shown why he could be the AL MVP.

Jose Ramirez has risen through the ranks of being a backup player just two seasons ago, to now being considered an MVP. Jose Ramirez had a great year for the Cleveland Indians, helping to lead them to 102 wins. He lead the Indians with a .318 batting average, and totaled 186 hits. He hit 29 home runs, and knocked in 83 runs. He came around to score 107 times, had a .583 SLG, .374 OBP, which totaled a .957 OPS. He also had a 6.3 WAR, showing Ramirez is a very valuable player because he can play almost everywhere in the field on defense. He started as an outfielder but now can play almost every position in the infield, so you can stick him in the lineup anywhere you want and put him anywhere in the field, which provides flexibility, and in today’s game, that is very valuable. Jose Ramirez rests his case for AL MVP, and it is not to be ignored.

Aaron Judge has been the face of baseball this season. Judge, 25, is technically a rookie, as he did not get enough at-bats last season for his rookie eligibility to be taken away. Judge set the world on fire by breaking multiple rookie records, including most home runs by a rookie in a single season in baseball history. Judge was a ginormous part of the Yankees success this season. He batted .284, crushed 52 home runs, had 114 runs batted in, 154 hits, as well as 112 runs. Judge had a .627 SLG, and a .422 OBP, equaling a 1.049 OPS. He had an 8.8 WAR, which lead the American League. Judge is also a great defender for a player of his size. He is 6’7 and 282 pounds, but is very agile and has made a handful of diving catches and leaping grabs. If Judge were to win the award, it would be the first time a rookie has won the award since 2001 when Ichiro Suzuki did it.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

The three NL MVP Candidates come, interestingly, from teams that either barely made the postseason or from teams that didn’t even make it to October at all. This is why the race will be so tough, because it will be keyed in on stats, rather than impact on a team’s success. The three NL candidates are Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies, Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins, and Charlie Blackmon, also of the Colorado Rockies.

Nolan Arenado has been regarded as one of the best third basemen in baseball the past three seasons. He is a great hitter that hits for power and can get on base, as well as being an All-Sstar caliber defender at third base. Arenado batted .309, slugged 37 home runs, drove in 130 RBI, and racked up 187 hits. He scored 100 runs, and he had a .586 SLG and a .373 OBP, which comes out to a .959 OPS. He had a 7.3 WAR as well, showing his value to the club. As said before, Arenado is an awesome defender at third base, and if you go on YouTube, you can find clips of him making great plays that last for six plus minutes. Arenado will be in the consideration for MVP for the third season in a row, and he might come away with the award this time.

Giancarlo Stanton slugged his way into the hearts of baseball fans everywhere this past season. Stanton is known to have great power, already with 267 home runs in just eight years under his belt. This season, he crushed a career-high 59 home runs, and drove in a whopping 132 runs. He scored 123 runs, and had 168 hits. He had a .631 SLG, and a .376 OBP, which totaled a 1.007 OPS. He also had a 8.8 WAR. Stanton almost single handedly carried the sub par Marlins to a playoff appearance, but fell just short. Stanton deserves to win MVP after a monster second half which was truly remarkable.

Charlie Blackmon had his best season to date, and he did it all hitting out of the lead off spot in the batting order. Normally, lead off hitters are not known for power, but Blackmon hit 37 home runs and drove in 104 RBIs. He batted .331, and had 213 hits. He scored 137 runs, had a .601 SLG, a .399 OBP, and a 1.000 OPS. Blackmon also had a 6.3 WAR. Blackmon’s play was one of the key reasons that Colorado made the playoffs, and contributes in all areas from hitting for power to playing stellar defense. He definitely deserves a vote for MVP.

So, there you have it. These six players all had terrific seasons, and are up for their respected league’s MVP award. We’ll see this winter who comes out as the MVP.

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Aaron Hook, Staff Writer

Aaron Hook is a sophomore at Wayne Hills. He joined Patriot Press in September of 2017 and writes about school sports as well as national sports. He enjoys...

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2017 MLB MVP Candidates